Chronicles of Neverael
The Izhen can be used to collectively refer to all of the people’s who live in the far northern Frostblight which is ruled over by the Izhendarc Emperors. As an ethnicity, they are hardly a uniform entity of any sort – many different tribes went into the mixing pot that are the Izhen people of today’s world. Most of the time, when one speaks of the Izhen one is actually referring to a much smaller sub-sect of the population – those who bear the blood of House Izhendarc itself. The promiscuity of nobles of any stripe is legendary and well known and the Izhendarcs are no different – many can claim some degree of House Izhendarc’s blood.
The Izhen, as those who manifest the traits of House Izhendarc strongly are known, are a breed apart from normal humans – something relatively new and different…and frightening. Theirs is a bloodline only some eight centuries old, but their blood is, perhaps, more precious than gold. The Izhen possess a few, immediately apparent physical differences – their skin is uniformly silvery gray in color (sometimes described as looking almost like frostbite if frostbite were beautiful), their hair tends to be pale in color with white, silver, blonde, and such being common. Finally, all Izhen have eyes of a startling, scintillating gray-blue-silver coloration which reminds one of ice. These physical differences are only cosmetic differences, however.
The flesh of one of the Izhen is cold to the touch – varying from slightly chilled to so cold that metal sticks to it. Their breath comes misting out into the air when they travel in warmer lands. They do not, however, feel the cold at all nor do they seem to be anymore affected by extremes of heat than a normal human is. They are also noted as staying youthful and vigorous well into their later years – commonly reaching the age of 100. But, what really sets the Izhen apart is their bloodline’s unique gift – Cryomancy.
Cryomancy literally means something like “magic of ice” or “art of ice” or some such. Some Elementalists are able to create ice using their powers but nothing that they do comes close to what the Cryomancer’s of the Izhen can do. Those born to the Izhen line who have the Witchsight invariably develop some degree of Cryomantic power. The magic that they practice is powerful and influential on a scale that boggles the mind. Little is known of the secrets of this magic – as it is only usable by these Izhen, but it’s affects are anything but subtle. Cryomancers can leech energy from their vicinity and, in fact, must do so in order to stay alive. Their bodies hunger for warmth as much as food or water. By leeching energy in this manner and manipulating their essence just so, they can freeze virtually any substance. It is said that the first of their kind – Ravel Izhendarc I – was so strong that he could actually freeze livings things in such a way so as to keep them alive forever in a form of icy stasis. The ultimate manifestation of this bloodline’s magic is the ability to form so-called “Black Ice” – a substance so cold that it never thaws under any conditions known to man. Few over the centuries have possessed this bloodline secret…but all have invariably become Emperor.
The IZhen who run the Empire have a reputation for cruelty and callousness which is well-deserved – they consider themselves a breed apart from other, “lesser” beings. They take life at will and enjoy decadent pleasures which are sometimes so alien as to be almost beyond the scope of normal human understanding. Politics amongst the Izhen are as brutal as anywhere else in the world – perhaps more so in certain ways. The Izhen do suffer from a strange stigma though – true Izhen (those who are Cryomancers) find it extremely difficult to take the life of another of their kind. They experience debilitating pain and a loss of strength when they take the life of another Cryomancer. This has led to the use of pawns and proxies in their great games of intrigue and assassination.
Izhen Racial Traits (18 points)
+1 Command, +1 Knowledge; The Izhen breed for strength of both mind and will.
Frozen Beauty: Izhen gain the first rank of the Beauty advantage for free.
Winter’s Blood: Izhen do not experience negative effects from extreme cold. They take no damage from sources of natural cold and all damage from supernatural sources of cold is reduced by one step (SK to K to S to NA).
Prison of Ice: Izhen with the Witchborn advantage who choose to develop their ability into magick MUST learn to use Cryomancy and only Cryomancy – they have no choice to learn anything else. Though their individual perceptions might vary – granting them the ability to interact with and perceive a variety of beings, the Izhen’s souls are shackled in a prison of ice.
Bonds of Family: An Izhen who kills another Izhen experiences a strange loss of strength – all dice pools receive a -3 penalty for 24 hours after the act.